Hancock Gunsmoke Elevations
The Hancock Gunsmoke single-family home for rent project in 7 Ranches received final plat approval at last week's city council meeting. Elevations in the community include the Nantucket-style detached home and duplex. [Barduson Architects renderings]

A Phoenix developer has submitted plans for a 253-unit community of single-family rental homes.

The 28-acre project, tentatively known as Hancock Gunsmoke, will include 1- and 2-bedroom duplexes and 2-bedroom detached homes with some duplexes featuring attached private garages. The community will have a density of 10.14 single-story homes per acre.

Hancock Builders would develop the neighborhood at the southwest corner of Honeycutt and Gunsmoke roads in Seven Ranches. Hancock also is building a similar project in town, the Bungalows on Bowlin.

“This proposed hybrid housing product fills a demanded gap in the market for families who are ‘renters by choice’ – those who seek the qualities of a single-family home as well as the benefits of a professionally managed community,” said the pre-application paperwork submitted by Mesa law firm Pew & Lake PLC on behalf of Hancock.

The community would appeal to young professionals and retirees looking to downsize to a more manageable lifestyle, according to the builder. The layout and amenities would create an environment where community can be built among residents, it said.

City Manager Rick Horst agreed, saying growth, particularly among young families and seniors, is driving the market for single-family homes for rent.

“The City of Maricopa primarily attracts younger families with children, who are drawn in by the safety of the community and the availability of affordable housing of all types,” Horst said. “Also, although there are fewer adults (over 65) in Maricopa than the regional average, that number is growing faster than the general population.”

“Affordable senior housing is becoming a more present need,” he added.

Hancock Gunsmoke will be designed with interior spaces that include features such as 10-foot ceilings, granite countertops and “smart home” technology, according to documents filed with the city. The tech includes a digital thermostat, lighting controls, doorbell with camera, keyless entry and a security system – all of which can be controlled via a mobile app.

In addition, the public spaces of the community are designed to appeal to active and social residents, including a central amenity area as well as open space throughout the community. Features may include a swimming pool, fitness studio, large turf lawn, BBQ area, lawn areas and gathering areas with seating and shade trees and structures. In the same vein, the pool area will double as a gathering space with a prominent ramada featuring an elongated fire pit.

Hancock said the proposed exterior design of the homes would be unique, too, with Craftsman, farmhouse and East Coast architectural themes incorporated into buildings. There would be eight different elevations and six color schedules. Each unit will have an enclosed back yard with a minimum depth of 15 feet.

Hancock Gunsmoke Site
A community of single-family rental homes is planned for 28 acres southwest of Honeycutt and Gunsmoke roads in Seven Ranches. Photo by Brian Petersheim Jr.

The community’s main entrance will be off of Gunsmoke Road, south of Honeycutt Road, with two limited, secondary gated access points: one further south on Gunsmoke Road, and the other to the west on Whisker Road. The preliminary plan is to improve Gunsmoke up to the community entrances, and if permitted by the adjacent owner, Whisker Road could be extended from the secondary entrance to Honeycutt Road.

The proposed development lies in the Seven Ranches Domestic Water Improvement District, which has been in discussions and testing with the City of Maricopa to potentially take over the operation. Should the takeover go through, the acquisition could provide tax relief and enhanced service to district customers. The district encompasses territory south of Honeycutt Road between Porter and White and Parker Road.

Horst told InMaricopa in April that should the city acquire the district, it would exercise management and operational control of the company and its infrastructure. He stressed that the district and city are being transparent about the potential acquisition, and he is cautiously optimistic about the deal moving forward.

Thomas Chapa, the chairman of the board of Seven Ranches DWID, has said the mutual interest in the acquisition was to enhance both the value and level of services for the area.

“If we do this, it will bring up the value of the properties in Seven Ranches for one,” Chapa said. “Upgrading the system – and this is not to say it needs improving now – they (the city) could do some things to improve it. The main reason for the city getting involved is fire suppression for the area, to be sure the flows are sufficient.”

The city has hired an outside independent engineering firm to provide an analysis of all of Seven Bridges water systems and is working cooperatively with the Seven Ranches board on the review.

Horst said the goal of the review is four-pronged: ensure and/or enhance fire flow and fire protective services, enable “highest and best use” land development; reduce taxes for district landowners; and ensure rates remain on par with current rate structures.